Movie Hype00611 – FIREFLY
The other day I was talking to a friend from the Old Country (
In 2002 FOX announced a new show FIREFLY. Helming the project was Joss Whedon, which excited fans to no end because Joss was the creator of BUFFY and ANGEL, which have given us the best combination of pathos, ethos and mythos in character and story of any show. Ever.
Then FOX in their oh-so-infinite wisdom put the program on Friday nights. Here you have a show with a built-in fan base—those who would follow Joss Whedon to Hell and back—and you put it on the one night when everyone under 30 is doing something!
But it gets worse. FOX decided not to show the Pilot first. The Pilot, which explained everything like why they’re all in that ship together and how they got there. No, FOX had a better plan. “Well show FIREFLY out of order!” Fans were confused, but loved it anyway. How could we not? The stories were compelling, the characters wonderful in their complexity and interaction; it was just cool as could be.
Of course FOX wasn’t happy with just showing the episodes in a crazy arc. Then they had to not air FIREFLY on many nights, and eventually the show was cancelled, before several of the episodes were even aired. People (including me) were crushed, but welcome to Corporate TV, where MY BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS JOE MILLIONAIRE GREEK BACHELOR SURVIVOR IDOL WEDDING is more preferable to well-made drama. That should have been the end of it.
Then the Sci-Fi Channel (and up here in Nanook-ville, the Space Channel) started to air the series. What they found was a rabid following. Soon FIREFLY was released on DVD, which garnered unheard of sales, enough so that Joss was commissioned to make a feature length movie, called SERENITY. (The film comes out Friday.)
Why should you care? Heed this paragraph like you would a fight between two girls (breathless and afraid to look away). FIREFLY is for you. I can prove it. My dad, who is notoriously difficult to convince he should be trying anything new, after months of asking, pleading, negotiating and desperation, started watching FIREFLY with me. And HE LOVES IT. You just can’t get any higher praise.
FIREFLY sort of defies genres, but the closest would be “Space-Western.” My dad actually compared it to the original STAR TREK series, which for him is the ultimate compliment. (His comparison was about the character interaction, which makes the series.) But if you’re not a science-fiction fan, don’t worry. If you harbor crazy prejudices—as I used to—about Buffy because you thought it was only about monsters, forget all that. I repeat: FIREFLY is for you.
Here’s the deal. In the future Earth doesn’t exist (still not sure why). There are many habitable planets, which were “Terra-formed” for human survival. The humans are often dropped on the planet with blankets, axes, and maybe a herd. Very much like settlers in the Old West. Some of them make it, some of them don’t. A great deal of the action takes place on these planets, which gives FIREFLY a very western primitive feel.”
There’s also a war. The government (the
Like my dad said, what absolutely makes FIREFLY is the characters. There’s Zoe, who used to be with Mal in the war. She still calls him Sir and follows his every lead, which annoys her husband
Then there’s Inara. In the future a ship Captain isn’t a big thing, but a Registered Companion is. (Read: Courtesan.) What’s great is that clearly Mal likes Inara, but he’s so pissed about her lifestyle that he antagonizes her. The crew also picks up some strange passengers, including a preacher who knows quite a bit about the world, and two others who make life very interesting. (I’ll let you discover that for yourself.”)
I love all the little things. For example, apparently before the “Earth-that-was” ended
There are very few times I absolutely stake my reputation as a Reviewer on a product. After all, people’s tastes are so different. Well, FIREFLY is one of those times. The DVD includes the 9 or 10 Episodes FOX aired, plus 4 others they never did. The episodes are on the DVD in the order you should watch them. With the full-length movie SERENITY coming out soon, what I want you to do is go Rent FIREFLY and watch the episodes. I guarantee you satisfaction. You can’t not love it. Then go see the movie.
FIREFLY is storytelling of the highest order. FIREFLY is characters you’ll instantly love, hate, and simply care about. You need to be watching FIREFLY, if only to prove to yourself there is something out there worth plugging into. Go watch it and then tell me how it was. And if you don’t watch it, there’s no power in the ‘verse that can help you.
Major thanks to Marcellus for lending me the DVD
Thanks to Grendel and Ziggy for coming over for a FIREFLY marathon